Sam Bankman-Fried's fraud trial begins

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STORY: Sam Bankman-Fried's fraud trial began on Tuesday in a Manhattan courtroom, starting with jury selection.

It’s the highest-profile case U.S. prosecutors have ever brought against a former cryptocurrency executive.

It’s been nearly a year since Bankman-Fried’s now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX collapsed -- shocking markets and tattering his reputation.

Federal prosecutors say the 31-year-old former billionaire embezzled from FTX customers from its founding in 2019 to its bankruptcy in 2022.

They say he used the money to prop up his hedge fund, buy luxury properties and donate more than $100 million to U.S. political candidates.

Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to seven counts of fraud and conspiracy.

His lawyers have signaled in court papers they plan to argue that FTX's treatment of customer funds was proper, and that others were to blame.

They also plan to argue that Bankman-Fried believed he was allowed to invest customer deposits.

And that it was a series of business failures - not deliberate fraud - that left the exchange without enough money to meet withdrawal requests.

The trial will feature testimony from former members of Bankman-Fried's inner circle who have pleaded guilty to fraud charges and agreed to cooperate with the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office.

The trial is expected to last up to six weeks.